Animation is a brilliant medium for genre stories. Sadly even with the recent explosion of popularity of franchises like Marvel and DC, sci fi is still really a niche thing.
Think of how much sci fi there is on mainstream television for example, and how many sci fi films there are that aren’t part of established franchises?
Added to that on television and film sci fi and fantasy, more than any other genres can often be severely limited even with the best budgets, by what we can see on the screen.
With animation however all of these problems can be overcome. Animated movies obviously are more of a niche thing anyway, and there is already quite a fair bit of overlap in sci fi fans and fans of animated movies. Also its obviously far easier to depict things like giant monsters, strange new planets, and alien invasions in even the cheapest cartoons than it is in the biggest budget movies as well.
Thus in much the same way as many iconic DC comics storylines have been adapted as animated films as part of the DC Animated Original Movies series. Then I’d like to see classic sci fi novels, comics and even some old sci fi television series be adapted as cartoons for the new generation.
In this article I am going to run through which stories I’d like to see adapted as films and television series.
Some of these stories are sadly a bit more obscure, but again I don’t think that would be a problem if they were part of a line that included more established sci fi characters and films. In fact I think in the long run it could help to bring more attention to many overlooked classics if the line was a big hit.
As for who I’d like to see produce this series, well I’d be happy for anyone as long as they have love and respect for the source material.
Doctor Omega: The Animated Series
Doctor Omega is sadly a relatively obscure French novel by Arnould Galopin. Written in 1907, many have speculated that it was the main influence on Doctor Who, as the story does bare a number of remarkable similarities to the later BBC series.
Doctor Omega is mysterious inventor (who is often referred to simply as the Doctor), who comes from an unnamed race of aliens that are said to be the most advanced species in the universe. Omega’s people apparently discovered the secret of time travel through experiments with black holes.
Omega is estranged from his people, and lives on earth with his grand daughter, Suzanne. Omega who is an old man with long, flowing, snow white hair, performs a series of strange experiments which attracts the attention of his neighbour, a sensitive, reclusive, but very creative, musical person named Denis Borel.
Omega takes a liking to Denis and reveals what he is building. A time space craft called the Cosmos which can function on land and water.
Along with his assistant Fred, Omega asks Denis to join him on an expedition to Mars, 3 billion years ago, and Denis eventually agrees.
They journey through the vortex where they are almost destroyed by a gigantic fireball, before landing in the Martian sea. There they encounter various species of giant Martian fish, as well as a hostile race of reptillian Mermen before they escape to the surface.
On the surface they encounter poisonous trees, gnome like creatures with tentacled arms and a giant monster that preys on the gnomes, before escaping to the red valley where they meet giant snake monsters, and bat like men who have fashioned artificial wings to escape from the snakes.
They next encounter a highly advanced city of gnome like aliens who capture them and take the Cosmos apart. After performing experiments on the three travellers, the gnomes come to the conclusion that they are not dangerous and Omega, Fred and Denis are allowed to explore their city.
Unfortunately however just as the Cosmos is rebuilt and ready to go, war breaks out between the Gnomes and their enemies who live on the other side of the planet. During one battle the Gnomes discover that the metal Omega used to build the Cosmos is immune to their enemies death rays, and so they cannibalise it to use as shields.
With their only hope of escape seemingly gone, Doctor Omega is able to build an SOS machine that sends a signal through time to his grand daughter Suzanne. Suzanne then enlists the aid of another renegade from the Doctors people, the mysterious Professor Helvetius who arrives in a similar craft to the Cosmos and takes them all back to earth. The travellers also take a Martian named Tiziraou who helped them escape back as a companion.
Tiziraou stays with Denis and even helps him compose an opera, before Omega builds another Cosmos and asks his companions to join him on another adventure.
Its not hard to see how this novel is a precursor to Doctor Who. Both revolve around a mysterious alien who comes from an advanced race of time travellers, who he is estranged from. In both cases the alien develops an affinity for earth and takes humans on as companions.
Also both Doctor Omega and the Doctor have a grand daughter named Suzanne, who are both about 15 years old.
Even physically and in terms of personality Doctor Omega is strikingly similar to the first Doctor. Both are grumpy, awkward, and are shown to be willing to even endanger their friends lives in order to explore.
In the first Dalek story the first Doctor memorably pretends that a vital component of the TARDIS has broken down, the fluid link so that he can explore the city of the Daleks, whilst similarly in Doctor Omega there is a scene where the Doctor reveals that he pretended a part of the Cosmos was missing simply so that he could explore more of Mars.
Yet in spite of this, both Doctor Omega and the Doctor have a very strong moral code and will only ever kill if they have too. Both also are shown underneath their grumpy exterior to be genuinely fond of their human companions too, and to have a very close and loving relationship with their grand daughters.
Doctor Omega has never been acknowledged as an influence on Doctor Who by its creators, but many fans believe that it may have been as the similarities are obviously rather big.
Doctor Omega sadly languished in obscurity for almost 100 years until 2003 when it was discovered by Jean Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier who translated, retold and republished the story.
Since then Doctor Omega has developed something of a following among Doctor Who fans and there has even been a number of sequel stories published which were collected in the anthology book, Doctor Omega and the Shadowmen. A second sequel, Doctor Omega and the Electromen is currently planned.
Personally I think that Doctor Omega could be the basis of a fantastic animated film or television series. The original novel alone would be the basis for a fantastic cartoon. So many of the colourful creatures, landscapes, and buildings on Mars would look absolutely fantastic animated.
As for who I’d like to see play the lead characters well. I’d like to see Kelsey Grammar play Borel. Borel is kind of like Frasier in that he is a bit of a snob, very musical, and very sensitive and creative. I could see Grammer bringing the character to life wonderfully, whilst adding a lot of humour to his more cowardly tendencies too.
As for Fred well sadly he doesn’t have much of a personality, but Brian Blessed would be a good choice as Brian Blessed is obviously good at playing big, tough guys, and as he has such a big personality himself, then he could overcompensate for the relatively bland character he was given.
Finally as for Doctor Omega himself well, there are so many actors who would be wonderful for this character, so I’ll just whittle it down to the following two people, Tim Curry and David Warner.
Sadly Curry suffered a stroke in 2012 which rendered him unable to walk and slowed his speech down somewhat.
Still he can act, and has even done quite a lot of voice work since his stroke such as Auntie Whispers in the award winning series, Over the Garden Wall and Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars. He also appeared as the narrator in the 2016 remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I think he could easily voice the Doctor and give him an unearthly, yet charming persona.
David Warner meanwhile could basically just recycle the persona he used for the alternate version of the Third Doctor in the Unbound Doctor Who audio series (which are set in alternate universes to the main series.)
Warners version of the Doctor even looks like Doctor Omega too.
There’s a lot of scope in a Doctor Omega animated series as much like Doctor Who, the fact that he can travel anywhere obviously allows the writers a chance to have him go on many different types of adventures, which again wouldn’t be hindered by budget constraints in the same way in an animated series.
Star Maker Film
Star Maker is a classic sci fi novel by Olaf Stapeldon which revolves around an unnamed narrator whose mind is transported out of his body by unexplained means.
His disembodied spirit goes on to explore the entire universe. Along the way he encounters various alien species, the concept of alternate universes, galactic wars and the idea that Stars are actually sentient.
The narrator is also joined by various other minds that detach from their bodies from various other worlds across the universe.
At the end of the book the various minds come into contact with the Star Maker, who is the creator of all things. The Star Maker is revealed to have created almost an infinite number of universes and has created them merely for his own amusement. After learning of some of the other universes the Star Maker has created, the narrator is transported back to his own body at the moment he left to resume his life.
Now Star Maker is one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written. It conteains so many fascinating concepts and ideas, many of which were decades ahead of their time such as the Dyson Sphere.
It would be a very difficult thing to bring to film however, if not impossible which probably explains why, despite its high reputation, no one has even tried.
Still I think it could possibly make an effective animated movie. Personally I think Patrick Stewart would be a fantastic choice for the narrator of the story. His voice is ridiculously brilliant. Its practically not even human its so marvellous! You’d obviously need someone with a strong voice to get us through the exploration of the universe, and Stewart does have experience as far as that’s concerned.
The Martian Chronicles Film
A series of stories written by the late Sci Fi legend, Ray Bradbury about man’s colonisation of Mars and subsequent conflict with the native, telepathic Martians.
The stories were written over the course of a decade and were not originally intended to be linked, but when they were reprinted Bradbury would loosely connect them together.
Some of the stories were adapted as a live action miniseries in the 1980s which starred the likes of Roddy McDowell and Rock Hudson. Sadly though I quite enjoyed it, the series was not that big a success. Ray Bradbury himself even described it as “just boring”.
I think given that the stories aren’t really that strongly connected, The Martian Chronicles would work better as an anthology film. You could collect the very best stories together with a loose narrative being the history of man’s first contact with Mars. I also think it would be cool if they got well known sci fi actors to voice the lead characters in every segment too, such as Mark Hamill, Karen Gillan, William Shatner, Colin Baker, Eliza Dushku etc.
The Lost World Film
Written by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Lost World revolves around a group of explores led by the irascible Professor George Challenger who venture to a mysterious plateau where Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures as well as vicious ape men roam.
Often considered THE Dinosaur novel, The Lost World set down the template that most Dinosaur stories were to follow for the next 100 years, of there being a remote location such as a valley, or island where Dinosaurs still exist.
Now obviously there have been many film and television adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel over the years, but I think an animated adaptation that tries to blend various different aspects of all the other versions there have been could be quite interesting.
The Lost World is a novel much like Dracula and Frankenstein, in that whilst its very important in the genre, and still holds up tremendously well as an enjoyable novel in its own right. A lot of what we think about the story in popular culture actually comes from its adaptations.
For instance with Frankenstein the idea of the Professor being evil, the monster being a stupid, lumbering brute, and having green skin, bolts through his neck and a flat top head, all come from the films, whilst with The Lost World, the idea of a spoiled rich woman going on the expedition to the plateau, a friendly native woman who falls in love with one of the team, and various Dinosaur species such as Tyrannosaurus Rex (which was obscure when the original novel was written) all come from the film and tv adaptations, yet they are all completely synonymous with the Lost World.
The intro alone of this show is not faithful to the book. There were no T.Rex’s or main female characters in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s version of The Lost World.
I think it would also be interesting to show us a version that had Dinosaurs that actually looked more like outdated depictions of Dinosaurs.
I would LOVE to see the animated Lost World draw on the paintings of Charles R Knight (whose work later inspired both Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien.)
Its such a shame that we never see Dinosaurs depicted this way anymore. Obviously I like the way they look in modern films like Jurassic Park too, but its a shame that this style was completely and utterly ditched.
Its not even like people want them to be depicted accurately in films and tv shows (unless of course they are documentarys.) Hence why we didn’t get any feathered Raptors in Jurassic World.
For some reason however things like T.Rex’s standing upright and Brontosaurus’ in swamps are a rarity now, so I think it would be quite a nice throwback to the novels early 20th Century’s roots if we saw more old fashioned Dinosaurs.
As for who I’d like to see play the leads well. I think Brian Blessed would make an exceptional Challenger.
Challenger is described as being a mountain of a man, with a huge bushy beard, deep, bellowing voice, and is prone to fits of chronic rage, whilst also at other times being quite witty and charming.
You can see how the illustrator of this book even based Challenger on Brian Blessed. I’m not the only one to make the connection!
Brian Blessed has also named The Lost World as one of his favourite novels. In fact he even explored a part of the mysterious region the book was set in.
Really he has to play the role. He’s practically a real life version of Professor Challenger!
As for Lord Roxton, I think Aidan Turner would be a good choice. I’m not the biggest fan of Roxton. He is a bit of a Gary Stu in that he is the all perfect, brave, dashing hero of the book, but Turner is quite good at being the big strapping hero, as seen in The Hobbit, and he has a great voice too.
As for Summerlie, Challengers pompous, snobby rival, I think Chris Barrie, best known as Rimmer in Red Dwarf would be a brilliant choice.
Arthur Darvill might be quite a good choice for Malone meanwhile. Malone is a bit bland, but Darvill could probably give him more personality like he did with Rory another fairly bland character.
Finally for the posh, rich girl who thinks it will all be a good laugh, but gets scared, and then finds she is stronger than she thought. Rachel Shelley would be an excellent choice.
You could also produce sequel films based on the later stories that feature Challenger too, The Poison Belt and The Land of the Mist. The Poison Belt is very underrated. I’d rate it as one of Doyle’s best works.
It revolves around the entire earth passing through a poisonous fog in space. Whilst the fog ultimately does nothing more than knock people out for a few hours, until then Challenger believes that the fog will kill all life on earth. Thus our main characters are forced to face not only their own deaths, but the death of all of mankind too.
It’d make a brilliant film and I hope it gets animated along with the other Challenger books.
A Princess of Mars
The first in Edgar Rice Burrough’s classic John Carter series. A Princess of Mars, revolves around John Carter, a confederate veteran from the American civil war who is transported to Mars via unknown means where he battles strange creatures, comes into contact with two warring civilisations and eventually falls in love with a beautiful Martian princess Dejah Thoris.
It was the first in a long series of novels about John Carter, and is often regarded as one of the greatest stories in the genre as well as one of the most influential being arguably the first ever example of planetary romance. I also inspired such big names as Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C Clarke.
The first movie could be the start of a whole new series of animated movies based on the John Carter series.
As for who I’d like to see play Carter and Thoris, I think Nathan Fillion would be excellent as Carter, and Katie McGrath would be brilliant as Thoris.
Fillion is always good for the dashing, lovable rouge, (and has proven to be a talented voice actor too.) Whilst McGrath not only has experience playing Princesses in fantasy lands, but would bring a lot of gravitas and strength to the role too.
Honorverse Film Series
A series of books written by David Weber. The Honorverse series revolves more around humanity’s conflict with one another, with some human beings having been augmented and mutated. The series draws on real life historical events for inspiration, though Weber has also cited the Horatio Hornblower series as his main influence.
There are still some alien species, but for the most part they are no more intelligent than animals.
The theme of the series is that technology has improved, but sadly mankind has found new ways to divide itself. In a way it kind of reminds me of Firefly in this respect.
I think that all of the main novels would be the basis for some fantastic animated movies. There are many actresses who would be excellent as the leading character Honor Harrington.
Famke Janssen would be the best choice in both live action and animation. She is about the same age as the character, and Honor is also said to be about 6 foot 2 inches tall, which is round about Famke’s height. Added to that Famke obviously has experience in sci fi and genre series, is a fantastic actress, and can do action scenes well too.
The perfect choice for Honor Harrington.
Of course Lucy Lawless would be another perfect choice as would Eliza Dushku, both of whom have experience in voice acting too.
Stranger in a Strange Land Film
A classic sci fi novel from Robert A Henlien. Stranger in a Strange Land revolves around a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith who after being raised by Martians comes to spend his his adulthood on earth and ends up having a profound effect on human society as a result.
The novel explores such themes as cannibalism, xenophobia, faith in the afterlife and even the pitfalls of celebrity culture.
It would make a genuinely surreal and interesting movie and I think that Matt Smith would be an excellent choice for the lead role of Valentine. He obviously can do the quirky alien thing brilliantly, so he could get quite a lot of humour out of the story, but at the same time he also would be able to capture the characters shadier and more frightening side superbly too.
The War of the Worlds Film
H.G. Wells classic novel about Martians invading then modern day earth has been filmed and updated as both film and television series a few times over the years. It was also adapted as a musical in the 1970s by Jeff Wayne.
Whilst I enjoyed both the 50s and the 2005 version I have always wanted to see a version that is set in the time it was written in Victorian London and stays completely faithful to the novel.
Obviously the Martians and the scenes of the monsters smashing their way through Victorian buildings would look spectacular animated too.
The Time Machine Film
Another Wells classic. The Time Machine revolves around an eccentric scientist building a machine which enables him to travel to the future.
There he discovers that humanity is destined to split into two sub species. The beautiful, but utterly useless Eloi, and the intelligent, but savage, degenerate ugly Morlocks.
The Time Machine has much like a lot of Wells work, been adapted several times, including as two films in the 50s and the 00s. Whilst I enjoyed both of the film versions they were famously guilty of being a bit too Hollywood in that they gave us a perfect happy ending with the Eloi being freed from the rule of the Morlocks. They also somewhat simplified the story too.
It became good guy Eloi vs evil Morlocks. In the novel whilst the Morlocks are obviously evil, the Eloi are not presented sympathetically either. They are shown to be so useless, that the main character just leaves them to their fate.
I would like to see a version that actually kept the more bleak tone of the novel. Also a sequence from the novel that is always omitted involves the time traveller after his adventure with the Morlocks travel several million years forward into the future where he encounters giant crabs and finally sees the earth itself die.
It would make an absolutely spectacular animated sequence.
20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea Film
20000 Leagues Under The Sea is a classic novel about a mad scientist named Professor Nemo who plans to wreck vengeance on mankind using his fantastic inventions, including his war ship, the Nautilus.
It has been filmed quite a few times, including most notably in 1954 by Disney and starring Kirk Douglas.
Still I think there would be a lot of scope in animated version. The Nautilus would look spectacular animated, and I think an animated version could perhaps capture the scale and spectacle of the novel better. I would also love to see Charles Dance voice Nemo too.
Edison’s Conquest of Mars/ Crossover Film
Edison’s Conquest of Mars is an unofficial sequel novel to War of the Worlds. It’s set not long after the Martian invasion was repelled and sees Thomas Edison mount a mission to Mars, made up of the worlds greatest geniuses to strike at the invaders first.
The story was the first to explore many ideas that have since become staples of science fiction stories, such as that aliens built the Pyramids, disintegrator rays, space battles, Asteroid mining and space suits.
Its a brilliant and overlooked book, and I would like to see it adapted, but rather than use Thomas Edison (who has become a somewhat controversial figure.) It could use Doctor Omega as the genius who mounts a mission to Mars.
You could also have the geniuses Doctor Omega enlists to help him build the spaceship to Mars and the weapons being characters from other classic sci fi novels, including Captain Nemo (with Charles Dance reprising his role.)
You could link Doctor Omega and War of the Worlds this way. After all in his first adventure Doctor Omega visits Mars at an early point in its history, and the intelligent Martians he encounters are not too dissimilar to Wells’ Martians (Wells was an obvious influence on Doctor Omega.)
Like Wells’ Martians the creatures in Doctor Omega are frail, big headed and somewhat cold, and logical, they also rely entirely on machinery and even have death rays.
It would be a brilliant twist if Doctor Omega discovered that the Martians he helped win against their enemies and gave the metal from the Cosmos, Stellite to, ended up at some point in their future, becoming the Martians who later invaded the earth in War of the Worlds, and it had been because of the Stellite that Doctor Omega gave them that they had been able to become so advanced and deadly.
Thus Doctor Omega by finally crippling their power in this story would be trying to make amends for his earlier mistake. At the end of the film, you’d have the Martians power base be destroyed just as in the novel, but some of the Martians would then escape into space to try and rebuild their power base. They could then become recurring enemies of Doctor Omega in his animated series, with the time traveller encountering them at various points throughout their history when they have later rebuilt and become a force to be reckoned with in the universe.
The Martians from War of the Worlds were among the influences on the Daleks in Doctor Who. Both are horrible slimy, octopus like aliens that house themselves inside powerful machines and seek to invade the earth.
Thus it would be fitting to have the Doctors literary predecessor, Doctor Omega, fight the Daleks literary predecessors, Wells Martians.
Doctor Who The Animated Series
Okay first things first when I say I’d like to see a Doctor Who animated series its not with any actors who have played the Doctor in either old or new who.
All of these actors are continuing their performances in Big Finish audios, and obviously an animated series would be a rival to them. I wouldn’t want to create a threat to Big Finish as I really like the work they are doing and have done for the past 2 decades, also since they are producing stories with old Doctors that are doing really well, then most people would probably think “well what’s the point of doing an animated series anyway?”.
I think that an animated Doctor Who series instead would be better as an alternate sequel to Classic Who rather than just more unseen stories with existing Doctors.
Its no secret that many of us classic era fans have been unhappy with New Who. Even before all of the PC posturing with things like Missy and Jodie Whittaker’s casting, the makers of New Who really rarely tried to actually write the Doctors character properly.
For those of you who haven’t ever seen Doctor Who (though I’m sure most of you had probably heard of it.) I’ll give a brief rundown of the show and why the revival wasn’t really a faithful sequel.
Doctor Who is the worlds longest running sci fi series. It revolves around an alien known as the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his magnificent machine, the TARDIS. The TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside, and it can visit any planet, at any point in its history.
The Doctor also has the power when he dies to come back to life, with his body and outer persona changing as a result, though he is still the same man underneath. This power called regeneration, is what has allowed Doctor Who to run for so long as whenever one actor leaves, the Doctor simply regenerates allowing a new actor play the role.
Doctor Who originally ran for 26 years, 1963-1989 with 7 actors playing the role in that time. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.
It returned briefly in 1996 for a one off tv movie, before coming back full time in 2005.
The 2005 version of Doctor Who has been very popular (though its viewership has declined in the last few years.) Still it has always provoked controversy from many old school fans to say the least, as it has taken many great liberties with the character of the Doctor, and the shows lore.
Its true that the Doctors outer persona changed when he regenerated, but all of the different Doctors were still meant to be the same person. They all followed a basic template that was laid down by the original Doctor, William Hartnell.
This isn’t just my analysis. All of the actors who played the Doctor as well as the shows script editors and producers have regularly said this too. Tom Baker the longest running and most successful actor in the part, said that the Doctor was the most limited role he had ever played as there were so many things he couldn’t do or else he wouldn’t seem like the Doctor anymore. Terrance Dicks the shows longest running script editor, also said that the Doctors character should never be changed too much.
Basically all of the Doctors personalities must follow this template.
The Doctor is always a mysterious character. We never find out his real name, or much about his history on Gallifrey, and upbringing. The name of the show after all is Doctor Who, so there has to always be a bit of mystery there.
The Doctor always loves to travel and explore the universe. His curiosity often gets him into trouble, but he just can’t help himself.
The Doctor also is someone who prefers to find peaceful solutions to problems, but will kill if need be. He’s quite unique in that on the one hand he is not strictly speaking an action hero like Batman or Superman who just goes in there and beats people up, yet on the other he is probably the most violent hero of all time.
Even James Bond hasn’t killed as many people as the Doctor.
The Doctor is also asexual. Throughout the entirety of the classic era, the Doctor never showed even the tiniest bit of interest in any of his female companions, with the possible exception of Romana (another Time Lady.)
The Doctor just wasn’t a romantic character. Not only was he often played by an actor much older than his companion, but the character was really more of a grandfatherly figure. His first companion was his grand daughter, Susan, who left him to stay on earth. The Doctors later companions were often young women that he would develop a fatherly relationship with, and they were obviously meant to be surrogate replacement figures for Susan.
You can see how in the second clip Victoria is a replacement for Susan, whilst the Doctor in turn is a replacement for Susan’s father Edward Waterfield who was murdered by the Daleks.
Even physically there was something of a template to the Doctor. All of the Doctors tended to dress in more old fashioned, Edwardian/Victorian era clothing. The Doctor was very much created in the mould of popular heroes from that time such as Sherlock Holmes. The old, refined, dashing gentlemanly British hero. All of the Doctors also had long, flowing, big hair too which again was meant to reflect the bohemian, eccentric nature of the character.
Basically regeneration was like an advanced form of healing. The Doctors body broke down and then repaired itself, but in doing so took on a new appearance, which in turn shook up his outer persona to an extent, but didn’t change who he was fundamentally.
Sadly however New Who had the Doctor do things like fall in love with his 19 year old companion, and boast about all the crazy bondagey sex he had with River Song.
You see what I mean? Its hard, if not impossible to imagine any of the first 7 Doctors being in this scene.
They also messed up many other time honoured traits of the character such as his relationship with his enemies and his morality too.
That’s not to say that New Who didn’t carry on ANY characteristics from the first 7 Doctors, but overall they threw out a lot of his key personality traits and worse, from the Tennant era on they actually made out that each Doctor was a totally different person which completely destroyed the point of regeneration.
The female Doctor was the final straw for many, as now the character is so far removed from the original, its impossible to imagine any of the first 7 in the role.
Men and women are different. That’s not sexist to say that. No one is saying because they are different one is better.
Obviously a woman could embody many of the Doctors personality traits, but as the character has been a man for 50 years, all of his relationships have been from a male perspective, he was never written as genderless, and he is set in popular culture thoroughly as a man, then a woman would always seem terribly out of place, and worse ruin the image of all of the Doctors being the same man too, even more so than the previous romantic or anti guns Doctors did.
So with this in mind I’d like to see an animated sequel to the original Doctor Who series that actually tries to carry on the character and style from the classic era in the following ways.
No soap opera mince with the companions home life.
A wide variety of companions from different times and planets.
NO Doctor/companion love stories.
Focus on a wide variety of adventures. Some invasion earth stories, some pure historicals, plenty of stories set on alien planets (which unlike the classic era would not be limited by the budget.)
No PC posturing, no female Doctor or Master. All of the Doctors people the Time Lords have the power to regenerate, and so the new who team in order to lay the groundwork for a female Doctor, had the Master regenerate into a woman. The Master was the Doctor’s archenemy in Classic Who who despised him so much, that even when he was horribly burned his hatred for the Doctor kept him alive!
New Who however had the female Master, Missy, be in love with the Doctor and even try and shag him on many occasions which turned the Master into a joke.
So yeah NONE of this crap. A male Doctor and a male Master who want to kill each other please!
No god moding the Doctor and making him into “the oncoming storm” or any of that crap which I haven’t liked in New Who. Okay the Daleks know of and fear the Doctor, as do the Cybermen, but that should really be it. The Doctor works best as a bit of an underdog that people think is a moron, and even among his people is regarded as a bit of a joke, but who is cleverer and scrappier than people give him credit for.
NONE of this macho, ego porn, bullshit.
As for who I would like to see voice the Doctor well, I have a number of suggestions.
Dylan Moran was always one of two people I wanted to see play the Doctor when I was a young boy during the 90s, early 00s and the show was off the air.
Dylan Moran has all the right qualities for an old school Doctor. He is naturally eccentric, and much like William Hartnell, he can be quite grumpy, and arrogant, but never to the point where you actually hate him.
You can see how well he’d fit the part even just from his stand up. Another positive with Moran is that you would NEVER be able to do any romances with his version of the Doctor.
I can just imagine Bernard being given the script for Doomsday and reading the scene on the beach with Rose and screaming “THAT’S RUBBISH! DON’T MAKE ME SICK INTO MY OWN SCORN.”
Tim Curry meanwhile is also someone I have always wanted to see play the Doctor. He was my other big choice for the Doctor growing up. I remember being disappointed when both Eccelston and Tennant were cast. Again nothing against those two guys, but I just really, really, really wanted Tim Curry and Dylan Moran.
I first thought of Tim Curry as the Doctor when I saw him in the cult classic Clue. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, its based on the board game and is a who dunnit murder mystery with three alternate endings.
Curry plays Wadsworth the butler of the house, who in all endings figures out who the murderers are. The scenes of Wadsworth running around from room to room acting out the entire evening in order to explain how the murderer killed people are hilarious, and you can see how Curry would make an excellent Tom Baker style Doctor from these clips.
Tim Curry obviously has the charisma, eccentric nature, and humour for the role. He can look as though he is smarter than everyone else in the room, yet at other moments come across as quite bumbling too like Patrick Troughton, and Tom Baker.
Sadly Curry’s stroke has prevented him from being able to play the role in live action (though the way the show has gone now he wouldn’t have been considered anyway as he’s a fucking white male!)
Still as he can thankfully still speak and act then he could play the role in animation. His performance due to his condition would still be more subdued than Wadsworth however, but that’s okay, I’m sure there would be a lot of interesting things he could bring to the character.
Also again there’s NO chance you could do any romantic crap with his version of the Doctor
Robert Carlyle would also make a great Doctor. In the past I have suggested him for the Master and I do think he would be an excellent choice for the villain too, but I can also see him giving us a Colin Baker style darker Doctor.
Carlyle did express interest in the role back in 2010. He said he didn’t like to talk about it when another actor was in the role as it was rude, but that now Tennant was leaving Carlyle said he’d love to be Doctor Who and that he would treat the role with respect.
So really if we could get him he’d make a fantastic animated Doctor.
Paterson Joseph would also make an excellent Doctor. Joseph is best known for playing the character of Alan Johnson in Peep Show. He is also a good dramatic actor too however, and even had a serious role in Doctor Who, as the weasly contestant on the weakest link who is exterminated by the Daleks. You can see what a great actor he is from that episode, as his cowardly, snivelling, unlikable character from Doctor Who couldn’t be more different to the larger than life, charismatic, bombastic Alan Johnson.
Much like Curry I can see Joseph give his Doctor a huge personality, but again not to the point of parody as both are serious dramatic actors.
Jason Watkins meanwhile would also make an excellent McCoy, Troughton style Doctor. Much like with Carlyle I have suggested Watkins for the Master in the past as he does make an excellent villain as seen with his performance as Herrick, the main villain in Being Human. Still I can see him giving us a Doctor who is quite impish on the surface, but maybe has a bit more of a dark, manipulative side underneath.
Adrian Lester, best known for starring in Hustle, would make a fantastic, Jon Pertwee style, dashing Doctor too, and he has rich, strong voice which would be great for animation.
Damien Molony is also someone who I’ve always thought would make an excellent Doctor Who. Molony is best known for playing the Vampire Hal in Being Human. He is a bit too young and conventional for the Doctor, but to be fair I don’t mind a younger actor as long as they don’t go down the romantic route.
Damien much like Matt Smith can do the old guy in a young guys body really well, as seen with his performance as Hal a 500 year old plus Vampire. He’s also quite naturally eccentric, and has a fantastic voice too.
Another younger actor who would make an excellent Doctor is Colin Morgan who is best known for playing Merlin.
Whilst there were some problems with Merlin, Colin was always excellent in the role, and Merlin was a fairly similar character to the Doctor in that he was a more cerebral hero, and somewhat eccentric and bumbling on the surface.
Adrian Edmondson would also be a brilliant Doctor Who.
Edmondson if you are not familiar with him is best known for his comedy double act with the late great Rik Mayal.
For 25 years Rik and Ade played 2 sad, repulsive, perverts that regularly beat the shit out of each other in the most cartoonish ways across The Young Ones, Filthy Rich and Catflap and Bottom.
They were never actually meant to be the same characters, but they had the same characterisation to the point where they might as well have been. Ade’s characters like Vyvyian and Eddie would usually be the stronger of the two and would as a result usually beat the absolute shit out of Rik’s characters, though they were both always losers anyway.
Now I’m not saying Ade would be a brilliant Doctor based on his comedy career. I’m a huge fan of all of his and Rik’s work. I’d rate them as my favourite comedy double act.
However I think Ade would be good choice because he is actually a serious, and dramatic actor. He won massive acclaim for his role as Abra on the medical drama Holby City. . Ade has often said that whilst he is very proud of his work with Rik, he does regret not doing more serious acting throughout his career.
He actually trained as and wanted to be a serious actor at first, but he ended up falling into comedy when he met Rik and became typecast thereafter as a comedy actor.
If he were given a role like the Doctor in either animation or live action I think Ade would do all he could to separate it from his comedy characters and would end up actually being one of the most serious and dramatic Doctors.
The same was true of Jon Pertwee who prior to playing the Third Doctor, was much like Ade is now, most well known for playing comedy roles in series like The Navy Lark and the Carry on films. Pertwee much like Ade had also always regretted not doing more serious, “proper” acting and so when given a chance to be the Doctor he ended up being the most serious version of the character there has ever been.
I can see Ade being very like Pertwee in this respect. Rik Mayall also would have made an excellent Doctor for this reason too. Rik much like Ade was actually a very good serious actor, and could play straight roles too, and again like Pertwee I can see Mayall wanting to really use the Doctor to prove to people that he could do more than silly characters.
Johnny Lee Miller who currently stars as Sherlock Holmes in the American series Elementary is also another person that I think would be excellent as the Doctor.
He is an amazing Sherlock Holmes, and Holmes as we all know was one of the main inspirations on the Doctor, with both being the quite eccentric, insufferable genius type, the Doctors companion being the Watson, and the Master being his Moriarty, so he’d really just be able to recycle his Holmes persona and it would be brilliant.
A slightly less original choice would be Sean Pertwee, son of the third Doctor actor Jon Pertwee.
Sean is a very talented actor in his own right, and I think his Doctor based on his performance as Alfred in Gotham would be a lot harder and more gritty than previous incarnations, but not to the point where he’d ditch all of the characters flamboyant traits like Christopher Eccelston’s Doctor.
Sean however has apparently said he isn’t interested in playing the Doctor. I can understand why as he wants to stand apart from his father as an actor, but still he might be more open to the role in animation, and again I don’t think his incarnation would really be like his fathers at all.
Finally another choice for the Doctor that might seem a bit more odd is Bruce Campbell.
Now Campbell is a cult legend who is known for starring in a variety of campy horror, sci fi and fantasy film and tv series. His most famous role is as the lead hero, Ash Williams in the classic Evil Dead trilogy and the sequel series, Ash vs Evil Dead.
Not many people would want Campbell for the role as he is American and most fans I’ve talked to at least, want the Doctor to stay British.
I can understand this level of thinking, as the Doctor is very much the British gentlemanly hero, but I wouldn’t mind the odd American Doctor. I don’t think that it should be a regular thing, but ultimately if an American actor had the right eccentric, offbeat nature I don’t see why you wouldn’t cast him?
Hell lots of British actors have played America’s greatest heroes like Batman, Spider-Man and Superman so why shouldn’t an American get a chance to play the Doctor?
It does annoy me when people say that an American Doctor is out of the question, but a female Doctor is okay like in this article here.
Seriously? An American Doctor is more out of place than a female Doctor?
Of course the only reason these people are saying that is if you say I don’t want an American Doctor no one is going to jump down your throat and smear you as an anti American racist, where as we all know what were to happen if you said I don’t want a female Doctor, even though your reasons in both cases are exactly the same. You think there IS a template to the Doctors character and that it shouldn’t be broken, but apparently that line of thought becomes sexist when referring to a sex change even though that is a far, far bigger change than giving the Doctor an American accent!
I think some fans get scared at the idea of an American Doctor because they are afraid of Americans getting hold of Doctor Who and changing it too much. However again, the way the British have fucked it up in the last few years, the Americans could hardly do a worse job could they?
So yes I have no problem with the odd American Doctor, and Bruce Campbell I think would be great.
Bruce Campbell is a great actor above all else and has played a number of completely serious roles over the years such as in the first Evil Dead movie which was more of a straight horror film unlike its sequels which blended horror with slapstick, and in Charmed where he played an evil Witchfinder, so I am in no doubt that he could handle the dramatic aspects of the character.
He also however has a naturally eccentric persona, having played some wildly over the top roles and so he could also bring a lot of personality to the part too which is essential.
Campbell’s most famous role of Ash is actually not too dissimilar to the Doctor in that both are blunderers who are good at improvising. Whilst the Doctor is a more cerebral character like Sherlock Holmes it is true that unlike Holmes he often doesn’t think things through as much.
He will usually just bluster in somewhere, get captured, beaten up, tortured and then have to improvise his way out. Ash is the same. Ash is very good at adapting to a crisis like replacing his evil hand that he had to cut off with a chainsaw, but not as much in stopping it in the first place.
Campbell’s Doctor would be very scrappy and like Troughton maybe a bit more bumbling on the surface.
There are so many actors out there that would make wonderful Doctors. I think the two key ingredients are to always get an actor with a naturally quite big and dominating personality, and an actor who is never really going to be a conventional leading man.
I would also like the animated series to make the 13th Doctor the final incarnation.
In hindsight I think it was a mistake to give the Doctor an unlimited supply of regenerations in the Christmas special The Time of the Doctor.
It has long been established that the Doctor (and all Time Lords) can only regenerate 12 times, allowing them to have 13 lives in total. Now obviously the producers of New Who got round this law because they wanted to extend the life of the show.
However they only had to do that because they wasted so many regenerations. Eccelston was there for just 1 year, even Tennant and Smith though doing the standard 3 seasons were actually cheated out of 1 year each, as there were only specials in Tennant’s 4th year, and Matt’s third season was split into two mini series across 2012 and 13.
Furthermore they completely wasted two whole incarnations with the War Doctor who was only in a few episodes and making Tennant’s aborted regeneration in The Stolen Earth count.
In my opinion they should have tried to get all they could out of each Doctor and called it a day when he reached his 13th life. That way the original 13 Doctors would have been a complete story, and then if they wanted to continue the franchise, they could do so in a remake. In a remake they could literally do anything they wanted and I wouldn’t care as it would not actually be Hartnell’s Doctor underneath.
Also I think you could do a great story involving the Doctors final battle with the Daleks and Davros (they’d have to be the villains that finally finished him.) You could have a really dark, Logan style showdown where the Doctor goes out as a hero, which to me would be better than just leaving it lingering on.
The Doctors death wouldn’t even have to be the last story they made either. Much like Big Finish does, they could release the animated stories with different Doctors at random over the years.
As for who could play other roles in the series such as the well, Simon Templeman as always would be an excellent choice for the Master.
Templeman’s performance as Doctor Doom in the classic 90s Fantastic Four Animated series basically is just the Classic era Master. Like the Master he is charming, suave, manipulative, and craves ultimate power because he believes that under his rule things will be better, whilst ironically also being consumed with the most petty and jealous hatred of his former friend, Reed Richards.
Its also doesn’t hurt that the Burned Master looks EXACTLY like Doctor Doom as well.
You can see how the Master is just kind of Doctor Doom mark 2 in some ways. Simon is also a huge Doctor Who fan too. When I tweeted to him that I would love to see him as the Master he said this.
So I think its safe to say he would probably be up for playing the Master.
Another actor that would be excellent as the Master is Aiden Gillen. Well known for a wide variety of roles in series as diverse as Queer as Folk, and Game of Thrones, what really made me think he would be an excellent Master was his performance as the smarmy villain in the classic Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson buddy comic movie, Shanghai Knights.
Gillan would be more of an Ainley type Master, IE more needlessly cruel, and smug. I think it would be important not to burn through the Masters as well. Again New Who used up two Masters in just one episode, so whilst I wouldn’t want Simon to be the only Master, at the same time I wouldn’t want to see them go as far as one Master per Doctor.
I would also keep the idea of the Master not being able to regenerate either. The idea of the Master having to steal bodies made him more than just an “evil Doctor” and also far more frightening too.
As for the Rani, the Doctors female archenemy, well there are a number of actresses that would be excellent in the role. Juliet Aubrey and Lucy Lawless in particular would be brilliant choices. Aubrey has already played basically the same character in Primeval. Helen Cutter, a snarky, ruthless, cold scientist who prefers Dinosaurs to people and even attempts to erase humanity from existence. Meanwhile Lucy Lawless is brilliant at playing the really vicious villain.
Though best known for playing Xena the Warrior Princess, nearly all of Lucy’s other major performances have been as villains. Lucretia in Spartacus Blood and Sand, Ruby in Ash vs Evil Dead and Number 3 in Battlestar Gallactica.
Hell even Xena herself started out as a villain in Hercules before her heel face turn, so I think Lucy would be good for a really vicious Rani.
I think my favourite choice for the role of the companion meanwhile would be Dana Delorenzo. I recently discovered this brilliant young actress in the series Ash Vs Evil Dead where she plays the leading character of Kelly.
Dana is extremely likable, feisty and has a fantastic voice. The character she plays on Ash Vs Evil Dead is pretty much already the kind of companion I’d like to see in Doctor Who. Strong, capable, sassy, but not the most important person who ever lived like Donna or Clara
She would be kind of an Ace style companion.
Of course we’d need more than one companion to span the multiple Doctors, but again there are dozens of actresses both British and American who would be good.
Personally I think Doctor Who the Animated series would be an excellent way of carrying on the spirit of Classic Who which has been tampered with by New Who.
That’s not to say that New Who was all terrible. Up until the PC posturing in the Capaldi era, I did enjoy a lot of the New Doctor Who (as this blog attests) and all of its leads, both Doctor and companion were played by great actors.
Ultimately however not only in the last few years has so much of the lore been trashed, but I think it would be good to actually see the Classic series be properly continued which ultimately I don’t think New Who ever really even tried to do.
Dan Dare The Animated Series
Dan Dare is a long running British sci fi comic book. Originally created by Frank Hampson in 1950, Dan Dare was set in the then future of the 1990s which was depicted as a golden age, with all races of the world living together in peace, and technology having advanced to incredible levels.
Captain Dan Dare is a high ranking pilot in Space fleet, which is essentially like an earlier, British version of the Federation in Star Trek.
Whilst Dan encountered many strange monsters and aliens on his adventures, his most recurring and iconic enemy was the Mekon. The Mekon was the leader of a race of xenophobic reptile men, the Treens who originated from Venus. The Treens had created the Mekon to lead them.
Though the Treens and the Mekon are driven off of their native Venus in the first story (after an unsuccessful attempt to conquer humanity and the other natives of Venus, the human like Therons.)
The Treens and the Mekon continue to be a huge threat to mankind throughout the series, and at one point in the epic “Reign of the Robots” they even manage to conquer the earth for 10 years.
The Treens, and their leader, Dan Dare’s archenemy, the Mekon!
Dan Dare was during its heyday the most popular comic in the United Kingdom, selling over 3 million copies.
Towards the end of the 60s however, after an almost 20 year run its popularity began to dwindle, and eventually the comic that produced the strip, the Eagle folded in 1969.
Nearly ten years later however Dan would be revived by 2000 AD originally as their flagship character.
This version of Dan Dare though a direct sequel to the original was very different in tone. At some point after the events of the original series, Dan has one last battle with the Mekon where he is nearly killed.
Spacefleet puts Dan into suspended animation until medical science will become advanced enough to help him.
200 years later Dan is revived, in his final battle with the Mekon he was also badly disfigured, and thus his face is completely reconstructed when they revive him, which gives Dan a totally new appearance.
Aside from looking completely different, this version of Dan also had a totally different personality. The Dan of the 50s and 60s had been very much a stiff upper lip, pip pip and tally ho chaps, proper British gentleman, whilst the 70s Dan was a violent, anti hero, who was willing to kill his enemies, and was also an anti establishment character, with the future he lived in being a far bleaker and darker one.
The 2000 AD series though controversial among old school fans was still popular when first released and ran for a few years, before 2000 AD lost the rights.
The Eagle would then relaunch in the early 80s with a new version of Dan Dare as its flagship character.
This version of Dan was said to be a descendant of the original, who again battled the original Mekon who had returned after a long absence.
This version proved to be very popular among general audiences and die hard fans of Dan Dare as it was more faithful to the 50s version. It would run for over 10 years into the 90s before it finished its run.
Since then there have been two miniseries based around Dan Dare. The first of these, Dare written by Grant Morrison in the 90s ignored all of the other sequels. In fact it ignored all of the original stories except for the initial Dan Dare serial. Whilst some praised it for its gritty, and dark take on Dan Dare, personally I think it was the worst attempt at reviving the brand.
The second miniseries produced by Virgin comics in the late 00s similarly ignored most of the previous versions, and much like Morrisons take, it depicted the future of Dan Dare as being much worse than we were previously led to believe.
In addition to this a fan made strip, Spaceship Away has been ongoing since 2003. Though it only has a small circulation, Spaceship Away has received praise by fans of the Dan Dare franchise for sticking to the original series’ tone.
Recently it was announced that Titan comics will be reviving Dan Dare as an ongoing series, whilst Big Finish has also recently produced an highly successful, award winning series based on the original 50s strips.
Dan Dare is one of the most influential works of science fiction ever made. Not only did it greatly inspire sci fi series such as Thunderbirds, Doctor Who, and Blake’s 7 (Davros the evil creator of the Daleks, and the Doctors archenemy was directly inspired by the Mekon.)
It also inspired many real life scientists and engineers too. Stephen Hawking actually attributed his career as a scientist to his boyhood love of Dan Dare.
There was already a previous attempt at a Dan Dare animated series in the early 00s. Whilst it was okay, I don’t think it really captured the sheer scale and spectacle of the original comics. The stories were too condensed, and I didn’t like the animation for them either. It was that awful CGI animation they used in early 00s shows that thankfully died out.
I would love to see a version that featured big, long serialised stories like the 50s strips and had drawings that tried to evoke Hampsons style as well.
I wouldn’t just want to to see an adaptation of the original Dan Dare series but also of the sequels too (except for Grant Morrison.)
I’ve always thought the fact that Dan changes his face, much like the Doctor could allow him to have a very long life on tv, in live action, not just animation, as you could obviously change the actor.
I’d like to see them do an animated series that starts out in the time line of the 50s stories, and adapts all of the best stories from the original run, before ending with Dan being disfigured in a final battle with the Mekon.
You’d then adapt the 70s, 2000 AD series after. I’d LOVE to see the Lost World stories from the 70s era adapted (especially the story where Dan lands on a planet of Vampires.) Also a series that tried to recapture the art work from this time would look stunning too.
Another advantage to adapting the 70s era is that you could finally resolve the saga of the 2000 AD Dan Dare.
Sadly the 2000 AD series ended on a cliff hanger. Dan had been framed by the Mekon who was planning something big, but we never found out what. You could finally show us how Dan, Sondar and Morag prove their innocence and reveal what the Mekon was after.
At the same time you could have it lead into the 80s series. You could have Dan have more surgery to change his face to hide from the Mekon and others, which could lead to Dan looking like the way he did in the 80s series.
Furthermore the 80s series begins with the Mekon having conquered the earth, so again you could link the 70s and 80s stories by having the Mekon’s big plan that we never saw at the end of the 2000 AD series result in his invasion of earth in the 80s series.
After Dan repels the Mekon’s invasion of earth, then we would adapt the 80s Dan Dare comics, before doing a story that saw the final showdown between Dan Dare and the Mekon.
I think you could extend the life of the animated series this way and develop Dan and the Mekon across all of the different iterations. We’d see the Mekon start out as a cold, ruthless, conqueror who is motivated by his xenophobic belief that his people should rule the universe, and then slowly watch him learn how to hate because of Dan, and then degenerate into a hateful, insane monster, whose only purpose is to torture and kill Dan.
We’d also see Dan go from an upbeat, idealistic, stiff upper lip gentlemanly hero to a more cynical, violent, ruthless character after having seen countless deaths at the hands of the Mekon, being horribly disfigured and ripped out of his own time and thrown into the future away from everyone he ever cared for.
You could also see society itself go from the golden age of the “90s” to the bleak future of the 2000 AD era Dan.
You’d also regularly change the supporting cast too, (apart from the Mekon.) For the stories based on the 50s and 60s strips you’d have the classic characters, like the good Treen, Sondar, Dan’s loyal batman Digby, and Professor Jocelyn Peabody.
For the 70s series meanwhile there’s a wide range of characters to draw from. Personally I’d like Dan’s main crew that go with him to the Lost Worlds be Dan’s only love interest Professor Rodan (and even then its only implied!) Monday the 5th Generation Martian, and Rok the Wolfman from space, who were all more interesting than the crew he actually had in that story arc.
A Dan Dare series either live action or animated could span so many years, characters and different types of stories. I think if done right it could be one of the greatest animated series of all time.
As for who I’d like to see play the leads well.
For the 50s Dan, I think Tom Ellis would be excellent. Ellis is currently starring as Lucifer on the American series of the same name. Now granted his performance as Lucifer couldn’t be more different to Dan, but I think he’d be good for the role, as he is obviously very dashing, but more importantly he can be very light and straight down the middle too.
There are so few actors who can do that type of straight forward good guy anymore which is a real shame. Of course as he can still play darker characters, Tom could show us the character slowly be driven down a darker path the more battles he has against the Mekon.
Tim Curry meanwhile would be excellent as the original 50s Mekon. Whilst better known for playing crazy, over the top characters like Wadsworth, Frank N Furter, and Pennywise, I think Curry would actually be good at the more icey and cold Mekon based on his performance as Auntie Whispers in the award winning animated series Over The Garden Wall.
Auntie Whispers is a sinister Witch (though not to give anything away, but there is more to this character than meets the eye.) Still the voice Curry gave her I think would be excellent for the Mekon.
I always imagined the Mekon’s voice sounding a bit like that. A kind of soft, but unsettling monotone, with brief flashes of anger when he confronts Dare.
For the cartoons based on the 70s comics meanwhile you’d recast Dare due to his surgery. Dan would join the Doctor and James Bond as being a classic British hero that’s played by multiple actors.
John Barrowman I think would be excellent as the 70s/ 2000 AD Dan. Whilst I may have some problems with New Who, I did always love John Barrowman. He’s a great leading man and always brings his all to any part he plays.
John much like Tom Ellis would be an excellent choice for Dan in a live action series as well as an animated one.
Also like Ellis, John can be light and straight forward, but can also be very dark as both a hero and a villain if need be, so I think he could give us a Dare who was obviously more ruthless, but at the same time not ditch all of the humour from the character completely.
I think it would be good to recast the Mekon for the 70s series too. You could easily have it that he had mutated in the hundreds of years in between. Simon Templeman would be an excellent choice for the 70s era Mekon, as by that point the villain has become more flamboyantly evil and sadistic.
Finally for the cartoons based on the 80s strips, well. I would like to see Michael Fassbender play Dan. I realise that is obviously very unlikely as he is becoming a big film star, but hey he’d be a good choice as he much like John Barrowman and Tom Ellis is good at being the big square jawed hero, but obviously has a lot of gravitas too.
Jason Watkins meanwhile would be a good choice for the third Mekon. I can see him blending the more flamboyant version of the villain, and the cold calculating side together, just like he did with Herrick.
Nick Frost meanwhile would be a brilliant Digby. Digby was Dan’s loyal butler and best friend throughout the 50s and 60s. He appeared to be somewhat slow witted on the surface, but underneath he was very wiley and was even able to outwit the Mekon on some occasions such as in Voyage to Venus and The Reign of the Robots.
Nick Frost has pretty much all the right qualities for Digby. He has made a career out of playing the loyal, somewhat slow on the surface, but resourceful and wiley sidekick for almost his entire career in things like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Paul and Hot Fuzz. The only problem is that he isn’t old enough to be Digby, but that obviously wouldn’t be an issue in animation.
Katie McGrath meanwhile would be a good choice for Professor Joecyln Peabody, the only female member of Dan’s team who was also the worlds greatest scientist.
For Rok I’d like to see Mark Hamill voice him. Mark Hamill is one of the greatest voice actors whose ever lived so if you can get him on your show then its always a good idea. However I think he would make a good Rok as he is quite good at playing the rough, tough, grizzled anti hero.
Whilst he is best known for playing either the boyish hero Luke Skywalker, or the effeminate, camp villain, the Joker. Hamill has played a number of tough guy roles over the years, such as most notably Wolverine and Christopher Blair.
Also wouldn’t it be great to watch Mark Hamill and John Barrowman fight monsters together across the universe? Yes it would.
For Doctor Rodan meanwhile I think that Ingrid Oliver would be an excellent choice. She’s already had experience playing a brainy girl with Osgood in Doctor Who, though Rodan would have to be a bit harder, but that’s okay she can play stronger characters too like Natalie the rapist in Peep Show (which is my favourite performance of hers.)
For the Dark Lord meanwhile I would LOVE to see Clancy Brown play that role. The Dark Lord is Dan’s archenemy throughout most of the 70s series. Though he has a pretty lame name, the Dark Lord was a brilliant enemy for Dan, as he was more human than the Mekon. The Dark Lord is presented as being the ruler of the Lost Worlds, with Dan eventually bringing down his empire. Its one of my favourite story arcs and if included in the animated series could help stop it from descending into constant battles with the Mekon.
I would also like to see the Vampires king be made into a major character. I think you could do a really interesting story arc with the Vampire king. You could have it that after the Dark Lord is overthrown, then the Vampires are able to rise up and become a major power in the Lost Worlds area of space and they are even worse, with ironically the Dark Lord’s empire being the only thing that was stopping them from leaving their planet.
The Dark Lord simply enslaved people, but the Vampires would slaughter whole planets. It could be an interesting metaphor for how sometimes its better not to interfere, even if things are bad as you can just end up unleashing something even worse.
As for who could voice the Vampire King, I think Tony Todd would do a fantastic job. For those of you who might not be familiar with him, Tony Todd is a character actor who is best known for playing the horror movie villain, The Candy Man. He’s also popped up in Xena, Angel, and recently voiced Zoom in The Flash.
He’s got the perfect voice for a villain and I’d love to see what he’d do with a Vampire tyrant from out space who tears people’s hearts out!
Finally another major foe of Dan’s from the 2000 AD series that I’d like to see animated is the Two of Verath. The Two of Verath was actually two separate criminals who had been fused together as a punishment.
One of the criminals was a ruthless scientist who had performed the most horrific experiments on his victims, whilst the other was a serial killer.
The two despise each other and regularly fight and even sometimes try and kill one another, despite the fact that if you kill one, you kill both.
I think that Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson would have been a fantastic choice for the two, though sadly that’s no longer possible as Rik tragically passed away in 2014. Still imagine how much fun Rik and Ade would have had with those two characters.
As for who I’d like to see voice the character now, I think that David Warner would be excellent for the ruthless scientist, whilst Vinnie Jones would be good for the thuggish member of the two.
Vinnie Jones and David Warner would be an odd two to put together, but that is kind of the point.
There is so much potential in an animated version of Dan Dare, and since there are already two revivals of Dan Dare along the way (with the Big Finish one doing really well.) I hope the greater interest in the brand results in a new animated series sometime soon.
Romana The Animated Series
Romana was a character who originated in Doctor Who. She was a Time Lady who was sent by the high council to assist the Doctor in finding the segments of the Key To Time before the Black Guardian’s minions did.
Romana was much younger and more naive than the Doctor, but she had a far greater scientific mind than he did. She was the golden girl at the Time Lord Academy, whilst the Doctor had only scraped by on the second attempt with barely over 50 percent (this was obviously before all of the crap of the Doctor being the oncoming storm.)
In some ways Romana was more useful than the Doctor due to her greater scientific knowledge but at the same time however she didn’t undermine the Doctor as he still had more experience of the universe and was obviously older and more mature.
Romana was originally played the late Mary Tamm throughout her debut season, after which Lalla Ward took over the role.
At the time Ward was in a somewhat turbulent relationship-with Tom Baker who played the Doctor. This translated somewhat onto the screen, making it the only time there was ever even the hint of a romance between the Doctor and his companion in the classic series. Personally I don’t ever really like romantic stories with the Doctor. The character just isn’t designed to be romantic, and they often get in the way of the story too, but with Romana it was less out of place than it was with Rose as at least she was a member of the same species as the Doctor, and at least it was only ever hinted and not the focus of entire stories either.
Romana eventually left the show after three years to explore E-Space, another universe on her own.
She did return in various audio series which not only saw both Lalla Ward and Mary Tamm reprise their roles, but also a third incarnation of Romana played by Juliet Landau (best known for her role as Drusilla in Buffy and Angel) appear.
Sadly Romana never appeared in the revival, though considering the way they fucked up other icons of the series like the Daleks, the Master and the Brigadier, maybe its just as well.
Personally I’ve always thought Romana could have easily carried her own series. The big argument against this was always “no one knows who Romana is” but that is bullshit. Bring her back to Doctor Who and make her popular with viewers, then give her her own show.
I must admit, though I always liked Romana as a character, I initially came to the idea of a Romana spin off as an alternative to a female Doctor Who, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I actually think a Romana spin off series would have been a great idea even if this whole female Doctor debate wasn’t around.
On the surface a Romana show would seem like Doctor Who all over again, as both would be about aliens exploring space and time, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t give it its own identity.
Xena and Hercules on the surface were both pretty much the same show. Both revolve around big muscle bound, dark haired heroes, who in both cases are followed around by a short, blonde haired sidekick. Both also are set in the same time, both even feature much of the same supporting characters and villains like Ares, Callisto and Aphrodite.
Similarly Angel and Buffy are both about people who fight Vampires, Demons and supernatural creatures in big modern cities, in both cases the groups are made out to be a band of misfits who have been rejected by modern society. There are even comparable characters. There’s the book guy who knows all about Vampires, Demons and monsters (Giles and Wesley.) The sarcastic one who mocks the team, but we later see a softer side to them when they fall in love with the hero, (Anya, Spike, Cordelia.) And there is the geeky sweet girl, who starts out as a total wimp, but later ends up going evil and becoming the most powerful and dangerous villain in the whole show (Fred/Illyria, Willow/Dark Willow.)
Yet despite this, both Xena and Angel were able to establish their own identities and followings as they were able to bring something new to the original series premise. The fact that the leading hero was a different gender in both cases allowed them to explore certain themes and stories that the other series couldn’t. Added to that both series were given totally different tones, styles, and even when they did use the same characters, they were portrayed in totally different ways on either show.
Ares and Spike for instance were both much more romantic, conflicted characters on Xena and Buffy, than they were on Angel and Hercules, where they were much more petty and humorous characters.
So with this in mind I think you could easily make Romana her own character, and her show completely distinct from Doctor Who despite having a similar premise.
A key difference between Romana and the Doctor is that you can flesh her backstory and character out a bit more. The Doctor always has to be mysterious and some writers have found it difficult to flesh him out as a result of this.
With Romana however that wouldn’t be a problem as we already know her real name, and she isn’t mysterious at all.
Also the fact that Romana is more naive might make her a bit more fallable and vulnerable than the Doctor ever was at first, which could eventually lead to her becoming harder and more cynical and even perhaps more ruthless than the Doctor as time goes on.
Also you can have Romana explore different parts of the universe. She has no real affection or attachment to earth. In fact they often make a point of that with Romana often being bored when the Doctor takes her around great landmarks, and pieces of art from earth that mean so much to him.
So we could have Romana make a totally different planet her favourite world the way the earth is the Doctors.
This would not only allow the writers to create an entire alien planet, its history, people and customs, but they could also be a bit more bold and have really terrible things happen to this world too.
In Doctor Who as most stories on earth are set on modern day, then you can’t go too far for the sake of future stories that will be set on earth. Everything has to be resolved rather tidily and wrapped up.
With the planet Romana gets attached too however you could actually show the effects of an alien invasion on the planet in the long term with society now knowing how to cope with the knowledge of aliens at first, the alien technology that is left behind being abused etc.
We could also see how Romana’s relationship with this planet and its people changes over time too. Perhaps Romana, being a bit more naive at first than the Doctor would become known to them and seen as a great hero at first, but then it would all turn sour for her for various reasons.
Perhaps she would not be there when they were invaded one time, or when there was a world war, a famine, a problem she could have easily fixed, and they would have come to blame her for not helping them.
Perhaps when they discovered that she could change her face several members of their kind would attempt to pretend to be future incarnations of Romana in order to gain power and influence.
Or perhaps she would find herself in the middle of a civil war with both sides expecting her to help them, whilst she wouldn’t want to help either, and would end up being hated by both and become a wanted woman on the planet for years after.
You could also do an episode where Romana’s favourite aliens are invaded by humanity in the future. After all in the Doctor Who universe it is established that mankind does go on to conquer other alien races.
It would be interesting to see a story where primitive aliens are being invaded war of the worlds style by humans, and we are viewed as the monsters by them, with Romana having to stop the evil humans from harming her favourite species, in much the same way the Doctor would protect humanity from the Daleks.
You’d also have to develop a different dynamic between Romana and her companions than you had with the Doctor and his.
You could also give Romana a whole new rogues gallery too. You could still have her fight the Daleks and the Cybermen too now and again. In the audios Romana was kidnapped and enslaved by the Daleks for several decades of her life, so if you kept that as canon, that could lead to some quite interesting confrontations between Romana and the Daleks.
Still it would be better to give Romana her own enemies, who if popular enough could cross over into Doctor Who.
I’d obviously want this Romana the animated series to be set in the same continuity as the Doctor Who animated series and not New Who.
There are so many actresses who would be amazing as a 21st century Romana.
Sarah Parish would be a fantastic Romana. She would bring a real maturity and eccentricity to the part. I think Sarah is really underrated. Her performance in Merlin as the Troll who bewitches Uther is one of the most gloriously over the top and crazy performances I’ve ever seen. She definitely needs more appreciation.
Dawn Steele meanwhile is another actress that would be good as Romana. I think she would bring a harder edge to the character than other actresses.
Ingrid Oliver is obviously an actress I REALLY like. She is gorgeous, funny, likable and she has a fantastic, smooth and sexy voice.
Ingrid is a very versatile having played all kinds of different character from vapid airheads to shy, nerdy geeky girls, to tomboyish rapists!
She doesn’t even look like the same person in any of those roles. Though she has already played a character in Doctor Who, obviously Osgood, she could easily play Romana in an animated series that was not part of the same canon, and to be honest I think she would be the best.
Finally Rachel Shelley would be another fantastic choice for Romana. I can see her being like Mary Tamm. Very English, very classy, but not in a condescending way or anything.
To me a Romana spin off series is just screaming to be made, and I hope it does as a cartoon alongside a proper sequel to classic who. I personally would LOVE to see Ingrid Oliver’s Romana work alongside Tim Curry’s Doctor Who in a crossover episode.
Quatermass The Animated Series
Quatermass was one of the greatest British sci fi series ever made. Originally conceived by sci fi legend Nigel Kneale, Quatermass was an eccentric British, Holmsian scientist who worked for the organisation British Rocket Group to track down extraterrestrial and paranormal threats.
The stories explored many themes such as alien invasion, ancient astronauts, early myths being inspired by alien invasions, body horror, alien possession and even then contemporary racial tensions and issues, with the story Quatermass and the Pitt being inspired at least partly by the Nottingham race riots of 1958.
Hugely popular in its heyday, and enormously influential on later works. Quatermass was a great influence on Doctor Who in particular, with the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee’s era essentially being modelled on Quatermass.
Of course ironically Nigel Kneale utterly despised Doctor Who, considering it to be the worst idea for a television series he had ever heard.
Quatermass still retains a big following 60 years on, and whilst there are rumours of another live action series, sadly nothing has yet been conformed.
Personally I would love to see an animated version that tried to adapt and update the old classic stories as well as feature new adventures with the character.
As for who I’d like to see play the role of Quatermass, I think Anthony Stewart Head would be excellent.
Head obviously has experience in genre roles, and as seen with Giles he can play the old, scholarly, expert on the paranormal brilliantly.
The new Quatermass hopefully.
Brave New World Movie
One of the all time greatest and most influential sci fi novels. Brave New World by Aldious Huxley revolves around a future where human beings are grown in laboratories and divided into caste systems based around intelligence.
One member of the society Bernard Marx visits a group of people who live outside the supposed utopia, in what are referred to as the savage reservations.
With Bernard in danger of being exiled, he discovers that the director who planned to exile him has an illegitimate son among the “savages”, John who he takes back to try and discredit the director.
His plan is successful, but sadly John’s outrageous behaviour eventually causes Bernard and his friends to be exiled anyway, whilst John is left behind. Mustapha Mond, the Resident World Controller for Western Europe, tells Bernard and his friend Helmhotz that exile is a reward as only outside of their society will they meet truly individual people. Mond cruelly keeps John around however, despite the fact that he wishes to be exiled too, just to see what will become of him.
Sure enough John is later unable to cope in modern society and after publicly attacking Lenina, a woman he has conflicted feelings for, John hangs himself.
Brave New World if anything is more relevant today than it was when it was first written. The novels dark ending where the crowds gather round John just to watch him deteriorate is terrifying foreshadowing of the way the mainstream media and the public loves to build celebrities and public figures up, only to tear them down in the most vicious ways and then laugh at their suffering and pain.
Brave New World has been adapted as a telemovie two times, and there were plans for another live action film to be directed by Ridley Scott and star Leonardo Dicaprio. Sadly however those plans appear to have fallen through.
An animated movie might be quite interesting, though like a lot of the DC animated movies it would have to be made for a more adult audience due to the darker content of the novel.
Abslom Daak The Animated Series
Abslom Daak for those of you who are unfamiliar with him, was a comic book character from the 1970s.
He was a vicious criminal who agreed rather than face execution for his crimes to help in a war against the most evil creatures in the entire universe, the Daleks!
During his war against them, Daak fell in love with a space princess who was later murdered by the Daleks which made him more determined than ever to destroy the monsters.
Whilst the comic was obviously a spin off of Doctor Who, the Doctor never appeared in the series, but Daak would go on to encounter the 7th and 11th Doctors many years later.
Daak was popular among comic book fans, but sadly he has never been included in the actual series, though there were a few homages to the character in the revival.
The 9th Doctors speech about wiping the Daleks out was based on the one Daak gives after his beloved is exterminated by the monsters.
Daak also did make a tiny cameo in the story Time Heist when the character of Seb is looking through a database of the galaxy’s worst criminals, Daak makes a blink and you’ll miss it cameo.
An Abslom Daak animated series would have a lot potential for many reasons.
First and foremost I have always thought that the Daleks were capable of holding their own tv series. Whilst they obviously work brilliantly against the Doctor, I think it would be interesting to see how species like humanity have to deal with the monsters without the help of the Doctor.
They have already been proven to be capable of carrying their own spin off series in audio, with the Big Finish Dalek Empire series, so I don’t see why they couldn’t in animation?
Abslom Daak meanwhile would be the perfect enemy for the Daleks as he couldn’t be more different than the Doctor. Visually he would be an interesting character for animation too. Daak always used laser chainsaws to kill Daleks.
Scenes like this animated would be exciting to say the least.
A Daak animated series could be aimed at a more mature audience. Doctor Who is not a kids show, its a family show, but obviously there is a limit to the levels of violence you can show in Doctor Who.
With Daak however you could actually show the full extent of the horror of the Daleks. The way they slaughter entire races, round millions of people up into labour camps, torture and experiment on their victims. The Daleks could be made even more terrifying in this series.
I’d love to see a confrontation between Daak and Dalek X. Dalek X is a character from spin off material. He is the most sadistic Dalek of them all, and is feared by every creature in the galaxy, even Dalek bounty hunters. There’d be some scope for great conflict between those two characters.
My main choice for voicing Daak would be James Marsters. Marsters is best known for playing Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off Angel.
He’d capture the characters swagger, rage and hatred against the Daleks, as well as his vulnerability too. Also who better than Marsters to play a guy that starts out really evil, is redeemed by falling in love with a little blonde woman, and absolutely LOVES fighting and brawling?
The City and the Stars Movie
Arthur C Clarke’s masterpiece about the future of mankind. The City and the Stars is set one billion years into the future in the city of Diaspar, which by this stage is the only city left on the earth.
All of the planets oceans have dried up, and mankind has long since mostly left the earth.
The reason that the humans of Diaspar still live here, is because of an old legend that states that a race of ruthless invaders beat humanity back to this planet and agreed that they could live, only as long as they never leave the city.
All of the humans in the city are created by machines and only a few of them are allowed to live actual lives, with the rest merely being stored in its databanks. Most of the humans are also reborn again and again too, but a few are “unique”.
One such human, the main character of the novel, Alvin is able to find a way out of the city, where he stumbles upon another human settlement named Lys, an agricultural paradise, whose people are all telepathic.
As he continues to explore the outside world, Alvin eventually stumbles upon an alien and its companion, a robot. The robot claims to have been the companion of the Great Master who came to this world many centuries ago.
Alvin takes the robot back to the city and after the central computer that runs the city is able to break the block on the robots mind, they all discover the truth about the history of mankind.
The alien invaders it turns out where a myth, and the real reason only a few humans remained on earth was because of their rejection of the greatest scientific achievement in human history, the creation of an artificial mind. The first such attempt went insane. It even became known as the Mad Mind and ravaged the cosmos before being imprisoned in an artificial star named the Black Sun.
The second attempt at creating an artificial mind, the Vanamonde later left the remains of the Galactic Empire after making contact with another advanced alien race, though it is believed that he will return at the end of the galaxy to battle the Mad Mind.
The novel ends with Alvin planning to rehabilitate the earth, whilst the robot searches for survivors from the galactic empire across the galaxy.
The City and the Stars would make a fantastic animated movie not just because it has a brilliant story, but also because so much of it would look brilliant animated. The city’s, the landscapes, the robots would all look absolutely stunning, and indeed they already do in the illustrations for the novels, as well as a lot of fan art I’ve found online such as the following.
The City and the Stars is a very overlooked classic and I hope it gets more recognition.
War with the Newts Film Series
War with the Newts was written by Karel Capek, the Czech author who famously coined the word robot.
Much like his other more famous work R.U.R, War with Newts is a satirical novel which deals with subjects such as colonialism, fascism, Nazism and the arms race.
At 23 chapters, it is divided into 3 books. Its premise revolves around mankind discovering an intelligent race of amphibian men who are enslaved and exploited by humanity before rising up and exterminating most of the human race. What’s interesting about the novel is at the end of the story the Newts are shown to be no better than humanity, not only in the disgusting way they treat the humans, but the destructive effect they have on their environment too.
War of the Newts is simply too long to be made into one film, so I think it would be better if it were a trilogy of animated films.
I’d love to see how the Newts themselves would look animated.
Slaughter House Five Movie
One of the all time greatest sci fi novels. Slaughterhouse Five helped to propel Kurt Vonnegut to fame.
Its a somewhat surreal novel, which like many of Vonneguts later works blends various different genres and styles together from dark humour to meta fiction to sci fi.
It follows the life of Billy Pilgrim, a soldier who is kidnapped during the Second World War and is forced to endure life in the Dresden slaughterhouse, before his escape, recovery from PTSD, his marriage and raising his children, his later survival of a plane crash in 1968 and finally his death in 1976.
Interspersed throughout his life story, are flashbacks and sometimes flash forwards of Billy being abducted by aliens known as the Tralfamadorians who force him to mate with a famous actress, Montana Wildhack.
The reader is left to wonder whether the aliens are real or just delusions of Billy’s mind.
Slaughterhouse Five would be a difficult book at adapt to film, as its non linear narrative might be more confusing on film. Still I think it could make a brilliant film, and the Tralfamadorians have a lot of potential in animation too. They are described as looking like upright toilet plungers with a hand at the top, and a single green eye on the hand.
I’d love to see how an artist would try and draw that, and it not just like completely silly.
As for who could play Robbie meanwhile, I think that Robbie Kay would be good. Kay is best known for playing Peter Pan in the series Once Upon A Time. His version of Peter Pan was portrayed as evil. As a man he gave up his only son, Rumplestiltskin so that he could become a child again and live forever.
It was a brilliant take on the Peter Pan idea, as here we had someone who had never grown up, but in a really terrible way. Malcom (Pan’s adult self) was lazy, selfish, shirked all of his responsibility, and didn’t care for anyone but himself.
You can see how brilliantly Robbie does the old guy in a young guys body. When he and Robert Carlyle talk, you completely believe that Carlyle is actually Robbie’s son as ridiculous as that sounds.
With this in mind Robbie would be brilliant as Billy as he would be able to voice the character during his youth, but could also voice him right up until his death to as he would be able to convincingly play the character in old age, as seen with his performance as Pan.
This would be another benefit to animating the novel rather than just filming it, as you could have the same actor playing Billy right the way through.
Judge Dredd Animated Series
Now I confess I am not the biggest fan of Judge Dredd. I only got into it recently after I read the 70s Dan Dare strips and was interested in reading more 2000 AD series.
So whilst I can’t really talk in detail about which stories I’d like to see animated, I do still think there is a rather obvious potential in an animated version.
Judge Dredd was originally created in the 1970s. He ended up becoming the most popular character in the 2000 AD strip and has remained one of the most iconic fictional British characters of all time.
Judge Dredd is set many centuries in the future after earth has been devastated in many global conflicts. What’s left of humanity now congregate into “mega cities.”
The strip takes place primarily in Mega City One, though other strips are visited. The lead character Dredd is a genetically altered super soldier, designed to curb the rampant crime in the city.
The strip was noted for its violent and pessimistic tone, with Dredd going on to become seen as one of the most iconic anti heroes of the genre.
There are plans for a Judge Dredd live action series, and I wish it well, but personally I think that it might work better as a cartoon, as again there no constraints in terms of what you can show in a cartoon.
As for who I would like to voice Dredd, I’d be more than happy for Karl Urban to reprise his role. Urban was excellent as Dredd in the 2012 film adaptation, and he’s a brilliant actor all around. I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw him in Xena the Warrior Princess as Julius Cesar.
Thank you for reading, and please let me know what sci fi classics you think would make great animated movies or series.